India, the home of one of the world's oldest and richest civilisations, great religions, treasure trove of rich and diversified cultures, historical monuments, arts, music, philosophy and what not, is the epitome of one's dream to travel to and explore.
The earliest Indian history dates back to stone ages of 400000 - 200000 BC. The earliest settlers in India can be classified into two classes, namely Paleolithic man and Neolithic man. Paleolithic man lived on flesh of animals, wild fruits and vegetables. Historians suggest that Paleolithic man belonged to the Negrito race and was short, dark skinned and flat nosed. Remains of implements used by the Paleolithic man were discovered in Rajastan, Gujarat, Bihar, and southern India.
Remains of Neolithic men belonging to the new Stone Age are found all over India. The Neolithic civilization was well advanced over the Paleolithic man. They cultivated land, grew corn and fruits, domesticated animals, made pottery and used fire. They lived in caves and decorated their caves with painting, constructed boats and went to the sea, spun cloths and buried their dead.
Copper age and Iron Age succeeded Stone Age. The Indus valley civilization is a splendid example of that period.
Indus Valley Civilization
Archeological excavations in Mohanjo-Daro, Harappa (now in Pakistan) and trial excavations in Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajastan proved that a highly civilized community flourished in that area around 3000 BC. This civilization was contemporary to the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian civilizations. Known as Indus Valley Civilization, it flourished more than 1000 years. The civilization was advanced with well-planned cities and buildings built with baked bricks. The streets were laid at right angles with covered drains. Buildings and location were arranged for the different strata of the society. There were public buildings such as the Great Bath at Mohanjo-Daro and huge granaries. Several metals such as copper, bronze, lead and tin were in use
They domesticated animals including camel, goats, water buffalo and fouls. The Harappans cultivated grains such as wheat and barley. Cotton and woolen cloths and earthen vessels were in use. They traded with other parts of India and other contemporary civilizations. The Harappan society was divided according to professions. Indications are there that there was a proper government and the people worshipped deities in male and female forms.
By 1700 BC, the Harappan culture was on the decline probably due to repeated flooding or the propagation of the desert. It is also said that invading barbarians could be the reason for declining the Harappan culture. When Aryans arrived in 1500 BC the Harappan culture was partially wiped out.
1500 BC had seen the arrival of Aryans to India. They established small agrarian communities throughout Punjab and adopted the agricultural life style prevailed in the area. The horse that came with the Aryans lead to the formation of cavalry and the rapid spread of the Aryan culture through out North India. The Aryans developed a rich tradition and composed Vedas. The caste system evolved during this period. Originally castes were a division of occupation but later transformed to depend on birth. Some Historians say that the caste system was existing among the natives and Aryans only adapted to it. During the 6th century BC Buddhism and Jainism emerged in India. These two religions preached non-violence, tolerance and self-discipline. As land became property and the society divided on occupation and caste, conflicts and disorders cropped up. Organized power to deal with these problems lead to formation of village councils, states and even vast empires.
India achieved independence on August 15, 1947 and adopted the system of parliamentary democracy. India also remained within the British Commonwealth Nations. India became a Republic on 26th January 1950. The Indian Constitution adopted safeguards to protect its entire people from all forms of discrimination on grounds of caste, creed, race, religion, or sex. It guarantees to all its Citizens freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble peacefully, freedom of conscience and worship, subject to general consideration of public security and morality. Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.
The President is the Head of State who is elected for five years by the members of an Electoral College consisting of the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabhs and the Legislative Assemblies.
There is also a Vice-President elected for five years by the members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Indian Parliament consists of two houses, the Houses of people known as the Lok Sabha and the Council of States known as Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha has 543 elected members representing the whole country. Members are elected directly by the people through the universal adult franchise. The Lok Sabha elects its own Speaker and Deputy Speaker
The Rajya Sabha has 238 representatives of states who are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each State. Twelve members are nominated by the President on the ground of having special knowledge in literature, science etc. Vice-President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
There is a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advice the President. The President appoints the Prime Minister. Normally the Prime Minister will be the leader of the majority Party in the Lok Sabha. The President appoints other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minster.
The Rajya Sabha is not subjected to dissolution. But one-third of the members will retire on expiration of every second year. The Lok Sabha unless dissolved will continue for five years. Both the Houses should meet at least twice in every year. Every legalisation requires the approval of both Houses.
The President's assent is required before a Bill becomes law. He can withhold his assent and return the bill with his suggestions. But if the Bill is passed again by both Houses the President cannot withhold his accent.
Legislative Assembly: Members to the State Legislative Assembly or Vidhan Sabha are also chose by universal adult franchise. The Governor heads the State Assembly and is appointed by the President. The Chief Minister, the leader of the majority party, is the head of the State Government. The Governor appoints other Ministers on Chief Minister's recommendation.
Elections are conducted under the supervision of the Election Commission, an autonomous body. An independent Judiciary is the guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the country while High Courts are for the States.
The Civil Services execute Government policies fairly and freely. Service executives are selected on merit by annual entrance examinations those are open to all.
Since Independence India made considerable progress in agricultural productions and industrialization. India is now one of the top 10 industrial powers in the world. Under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the country followed a policy of non-alignment. India made long strides in development of space technology, computer science and many other scientific and industrial fields.